Practical Ecommerce

Quick Query: Comodo CEO on Hiring a Social Media Officer

There’s much talk about social media sites and there’s also talk of how companies can use social media for marketing purposes. One company doing just that is Comodo, a firm that provides online security solutions. Comodo has recently created a “social media officer” job position and Comodo’s CEO, Melih Abdulhayoglu, is here to discuss it with us.

PeC: Why did Comodo create a social media officer position?

Melih Abdulhayoglu Abdulhayoglu: “Well, humans rode on a horseback for tens of thousands of years and then in less than 100 years, we went from a horseback to a jet plane. What caused that revolution? What was the trigger to get us from a horseback to a jet plane? The answer was the Gutenberg press, the invention of printing that allowed us to retain and share information.”

“The Internet is that printing machine on steroids. The Internet allows us to retain and share information. That’s where social media comes into place. We are using it for socially interacting with each other, connecting us together. It’s the connectedness that is changing the way that we behave, we act, we transact on Internet. That becomes as important as the printing machine itself and this is why we [Comodo] have a position for social media because social media is like the printing machine. It allows us to communicate and share information with people.”

PeC: What type of information does this person share? What are his duties in terms of representing your company out across the Internet?

Abdulhayoglu: “Pretty much anything and everything. In this age of Internet, you have to be open, you have to be frank. So, this person [Comodo’s social media officer] is the voice for the company, for us to be heard in many places, and act as the medium between the social capital [the end users on social media] and the company itself. Our social media officer is the translator. He is the link between us and everyone out there.”

PeC: Are there sites that he focuses on more than others? For example, does he focus on Twitter or Facebook, or other sites that he spends more time on than others?

Abdulhayoglu: “Some, yes. It depends on the discussions. It’s very much buzz-oriented, depending on the buzz, depending on where the buzz is. He tries to get Comodo’s views across and get views from all the people and pass it back to Comodo. So, depending on where the buzz is happening, that’s where the discussions are taking place.”

PeC: How do you know if it’s successful? How do you measure the success?

Abdulhayoglu: “That’s a very good question. There isn’t an exact tool for you to be able to do that. There are many tools out there that you can try to build metrics from, but you can see the ultimate goal is about creating brand awareness for the company itself. There are tools like Google Trends that you can take a look at to see if your brand awareness is increasing or not. There are other tools as well that are free that show you whether you are being talked about or not. So, there isn’t a single tool that I can point my finger to, but there are many tools out there that gives those good enough indication that whether social media initiative is working or not.”

PeC: You mentioned Google Trends. Could you tell our readers about that?

Abdulhayoglu:Google Trends gives you analysis about how many searches are taking place on a specific keyword. So, if you were to type, let’s say Comodo and some other company name, you could then have a measurement, a relative measurement between two different keywords, and it goes very hand in hand with the buzz that’s happening out there. When Britney Spears is having issues, for example, you can type Britney Spears then you can see it’s increasing. So, people’s search habits are directly related to your brand to a level. That’s a very good indicator.”

PeC: Our readers are ecommerce merchants, mainly. What would you suggest to them in terms of trying to replicate what you’re doing with your social media officer position?

Abdulhayoglu: “Well, there are tools that are available. Short of you having your social media officer, there are other ways of being transparent. It’s great that you have a pretty website, but do I know who you are? I want to get to know you. Show me who you really are so that I will then talk about you. You don’t have to employ a social media officer. You can get opinion leaders. You can get people to talk about you. The only way you can do that is by making sure that you give them visibility about who you are. There are tools available for you to be able to do that.”

PeC: What are those tools?

Abdulhayoglu: “A free tool that we make available is called User Trust. It’s a tool whereby users are allowed to put feedback on your website. You take this [User Trust] logo, you put it on your website and then you’ll have a rating. People will give their feedback about their interaction with you. If you’re a good merchant, you should be flaunting how good you are by letting users to talk about you on your website and this tool is like a feedback, like a testimonial. It lets people talk about you and that’s how this social aspect of the Internet can be utilized by smaller e-merchants.”

PeC: Your firm, Comodo, is a leader in security products and services. Could you tell us a little bit about what your firm is up to?

Abdulhayoglu: “What we’re trying to do is change the way that the security industry works because, simply, we [Internet users] are still talking about viruses causing problems. We have to start removing this being a distraction from utilizing the Internet and computers. So, we’ve created Comodo Internet Security. Again, we give it away for free to anyone. So, any small emerchant, go ahead and get Comodo Internet Security. Use it. It’s free. It prevents malware coming into your computers in the first place unlike antivirus products, which lets it in and then tries to clean it.”

PeC: Anything else on your mind for our readers about social media?

Abdulhayoglu: “Well, social media is a big area. You could invest a lot of money, but if you’re smart about it, you can do it very effectively with no money and that’s what I recommend people do; make sure to provide transparency. Transparency is key. Trust is the most important thing and it can only be gained via transparency. Let people see how good you are by allowing them to provide feedback on you. Good, bad, ugly, it doesn’t matter. One of the best testimonials you can have is a customer who complained about you, and then you turn them to be a thankful customer. That’s one of the best testimonials you can have.”

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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  1. denisess April 17, 2009 Reply

    Whether or not you create a specific social media position, it is critical to identify a social media leader for your organization. This role may go away in a few years when social media becomes a part of our DNA, but right now there must be a driver. Beyond SM programs, the SM leader educates and trains employees, sets guidelines for everyone’s behavior online (how the company will respond to negative comments), and is the champion for getting the company to interact authentically and transparently with audiences.